The Argentine turned in a poor performance against Sunderland at the weekend and was substituted at half-time, but his manager insists he is adapting to life at Old Trafford
Louis van Gaal has spoken out in defence of Angel Di Maria, insisting the Manchester United attacker is on the road to adapting to the Premier League.
The Argentine was substituted at half-time against Sunderland on Saturday after a below-par display, with the Red Devils going on to win the match 2-0 in his absence thanks to a double from Wayne Rooney.
Van Gaal, though, believes it was just an off-day for the former Real Madrid star and is confident he will start to show his quality, beginning against Newcastle on Wednesday evening.
“Every player can have that kind of match – Di Maria is not the only player who has suffered a bad day,” the Dutchman told MUTV.
“He can be the best player in the world in the next match, so I think everything is going well. He trained very well and I don’t think there is any problem.
“I have already explained that the higher rhythm of the Premier League is one of the most important aspects but he also has to adapt to a new culture, a new environment and that is not always easy.
“I think it counts for all the players that we have bought, the first season is always difficult. I have explained that in the press conference after the match and can see it in every player we have got. Shaw, Blind, Herrera, Falcao and also Di Maria.
“For me it is not a big surprise, it is more a big surprise when he adapts as quickly as possible. And also in the Netherlands or in Spain or in Germany I had the same experience with players, so we have to give him time, what I have already said, not only to Di Maria but all the players. We wait and see.”
Di Maria’s home was burgled earlier in the season and, according to reports, he subsequently moved into a hotel along with his wife and children.
Van Gaal, though, has played down the possibility that the break-in is still affecting the Argentine.
“It is easy to say that. I cannot prove that,” he added. “It is not scientifically proven, and I don’t want to speak about things that I cannot say.”
But Van Gaal admits he can do little to improve Di Maria’s performances, revealing that form is “dependant on the individual”, but he expects the former Real Madrid winger to have fully adjusted to England’s top-flight after 12 months.
“You have to manage so many aspects, and not only aspects of the game, of the match, but also of the culture in the country. You cannot give a general answer to that but the general answer is one year.“